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Front foot approach pays dividends

18 March 2017

Stags’ boss Steve Evans was pleased to see his side reap the rewards of his offensive team selection as they eased to a 2-0 win over Carlisle United this afternoon.

Second half-goals from strikers Matt Green and Shaq Coulthirst secured a well-deserved 2-0 victory for the Stags after another high quality display. 

And the boss was full of praise for his front two of Shaq Coulthirst and Danny Rose, as well as opening scorer Green, who was deployed in a less familiar left-wing position. 

“I thought Matt Green did an unusual role for us today but we wanted to be very offensive today. I wanted as many [attacking players] on the pitch to give us a shape and a balance that can score a goal," the gaffer said.

“It takes us a long time to get the goal but sometimes as a manager you get decisions right and decisions wrong and it was right to obviously give Matt Green that role where he can come from a little bit deeper. 

“It’s just a fantastic header and the boy Coulthirst has got the ability to do that. I’ve seen him do that at higher levels on a very regular basis – none more so than when I watched him as a very promising kid at Tottenham.

“I think his performance from start to finish was what Danny Rose can give you and we miss Danny Rose when he’s not available to us. That doesn’t mean he’s the best striker we’ve got and he starts but he’s invaluable if he’s not starting and he comes off the bench.”

The former Leeds United commended his side’s never-say-die attitude after they went in at half-time arguably unlucky not to be in front. 

“I think the supporters at half-time would have been shaking their head again [as to] why we’re not in front. 

“There’s ricochets across the goal, the goalkeeper’s blocked one from Danny Rose – it’s a great volley, an instinctive volley – it hits the goalkeeper on the shoulder when he’s going the other way and it bounces to safety. 

“I thought we were really inventive. I thought we needed to get the first goal to give us a bit of confidence and I said to the boys at half-time, I don’t really care if it comes in the 90th minute, let’s be dominant in both boxes and take a chance if it comes and win a header defensively or a block if we have to.”

After recent results haven’t reflected the quality of the Stags’ performances, the manager says players and supporters alike should ‘enjoy their evenings’ after today’s excellent victory. 

“I’m really pleased for them; I just said to the players ‘go and enjoy your evening’. We’ve all had some long journeys and some difficult days and difficult nights. 

“To the supporters that turned up today: go and enjoy your weekend. We’ve let you down recently; not by performance, not by effort, not by attitude, but we’ve let you down by not putting the ball in the net and maybe getting a bit sloppy as well at the other end.”

Finally, the gaffer provided an update on the injury sustained by defender Krystian Pearce, who was forced off in the first half after landing awkwardly following a header. 

“We think it’s a sprain. He’s gone up and won a header, the boy jumps into him and he rolls his ankle a little bit. We’re hoping – you never know for 24-48 hours – we’re hoping, the medical team are hoping, it’s a sprain and anyone who’s sprained an ankle knows that’s probably a week or 10 days.”

Supporters can login to Stags PlayerHD to view the manager’s post-match interview in full.